Sunday may have marked the official end of this year’s Toronto International FIlm Festival, but the increasingly top-heavy affair unofficially ended early last week, when all the highest profile films had already screened, and their accompanying talent had skipped town. So while our first weekend involved breathlessly sprinting from screenings, to interviews, to parties, and still only meeting half our commitments, this past week was spent stealing sandwiches from the media lounge and reflecting on the week that was. Here, our highlights and lowlights from Toronto. See you next year!
Strangest celebrity encounter
The Ritz Carlton once again proved to be the digs-of-choice for the majority of talent that attended this year’s fest, which explained the 24/7 throng of DIY papparazzi camped out in front. One star they failed to recognize was big mouth director Brett Ratner who seemed miffed when the concierge told him and his appropriately greasy friend that their favorite restaurant was closed. That’s when we chimed in, and recommended a spot just down the street that of course, we’d never been to. “Does it have good food? We need good food. Can we walk? Or should we take a cab? You know what? I trust this man.”
Best spontaneous sing-along
With the crush of media in town, we were surprised at how sparsely-attended some of the press conferences were. Not so for Cloud Atlas, whose panel featured the epic film’s all-star cast, along with its press-shy directors Larry and Lana Wachowski. So yeah, it was a pretty big deal. But before the first question could be asked, Tom Hanks showed us why he’s the nicest guy in showbiz when he opened the proceedings by announcing co-star Hugh Grant’s 52nd birthday, then leading a “Happy Birthday” singalong. “Thank you.” Grant grinned. “That’s the nicest thing the press has ever done for me.” Oh, snap!
Worst time to schedule a screening
All the primo press screenings were scheduled much earlier than we’re accustomed to ever waking up, and with Toronto’s puritanical 2AM last call extended to an ungodly 4AM all festival long, three hours of sleep became the norm for booze-swilling, gonzo journos like us. It’s almost as though festival organizers were personally challenging our professionalism and will power on a nightly basis. So how’d we do? Let’s just say we’re as excited for the theatrical release of the audience-award winning Silver Linings Playbook as the rest of you.
Biggest breakout potential
Most of gen pop haven’t heard of Spring Breakers. Annapurna pictures—run by of-the-moment producer Megan Ellison (and daughter of Oracle’s Larry Ellison)—will look to change that with its acquisition and eventual release of Harmony Korine’s twisted tale of adolescent ennui, starring the bikini-clad, gun-toting trio of Selena Gomez, Vanessa Gudgens, and Ashley Benson in image-shattering performances. The buzz on this one had become so bloated by the festival’s end, that at least 200 journalists were turned away at its final screening. Mark our words: Everyone and their little sister will be talking about Spring Breakers by year’s end.
Most stunning admittal of squareness
When we met Jared Leto in the lobby of The Shangri-la to talk Artifact, his award-winning doc about his band’s draining legal battle with EMI, the 30 Second to Mars frontman looked even more gaunt and pale than usual. He informed us that he’d recently gotten food poisoning in New York and hadn’t eaten anything all day. A bowl of noodles eventually caught Leto’s eye, because they looked “nice and plain.” When we informed him that a three-story Momofuku complex had just opened next door, the honorary New Yorker asked “What’s Momofuku? Is it like Wagamama?” Sounds like someone’s been in L.A. too long.
Prickliest interview subject
Spike Lee has always had a love/hate relationship with the media, and when we sat down with the director this past weekend, it was clear from the get-go that he was in full-on hate mode. There to discuss his vibrant new documentary Bad25, which examines the making and legacy of Micahel Jackson’s Bad, Lee provided mostly one sentence answers, refused to answer certain questions, and directly challenged a journalist when she somewhat foolishly asked: “Why couldn’t the media just leave Michael Jackson alone?” to which Lee bit back “You tell me! You’re media! I kn0w nothing about you and your cohorts!”